How to Attract Orioles to Your Backyard

Updated on June 27, 2018
Mike Hardy profile image

Mike is an author of tales, tastes, and fun in northern Michigan. When he is not messing around on the Great Lakes, he is writing about them

Source

The short summer is big for those who enjoy to put out feeders and draw in the active birds in the Great Lakes region. The ubiquitous robins have been around since mid-March and have feasted on insects and worms emerging from the frozen earth. The next anticipated migratory bird to swoop in on the scene is the Baltimore Oriole. After spending the winter in Mexico, Cuba, and Central America, this migratory bird has been making his way to Canada, the Great Lakes, and New England regions since early March.

Orioles are a bit smaller and sleeker looking than an American Robin, Baltimore Orioles are medium-sized songbirds with thick necks and long legs. Their long, thick-based, pointed bills is an ideal tool for raiding the hummingbird feeders. This long bill is a telltale sign that they belong to the blackbird family.

With a little persistence, you can attract orioles to your yard within a few weeks. By using these rules of thumb, you can have this colorful resident for the entire summer season.

Orange and bright colors will draw them in for a look.
Orange and bright colors will draw them in for a look. | Source

Tips for Attracting Orioles: Orange and Early

Think Orange

Orioles are attracted to bright, vibrant colors in a quiet setting with nearby trees and bushes to perch from. We found that having an orange feeder or using real cut orange halves draws the bird in for the feast. Set the sliced orange halves in a shallow bit of water to discourage ants. Replace the oranges daily. If you see black gunk form, clean off the area. Mold can be harmful to the birds.

Start Feeding Orioles Early in the Season in the Great Lakes

Our hypothesis is that Orioles have a great memory. One early spring, we spotted a small flock fly in and watch as we unpacked the car until the feeder was placed. Placing your feeders out early will catch the early arrivals and may turn those passing through to seasonal residents.

Offer Orioles and Accessible Feeder and Simple Nectar

The author's perfect oriole feeder.
The author's perfect oriole feeder. | Source

Keep the Oriole Feeder Out in the Open

We have seen the most active oriole feeder posted on a pole in the middle of the yard. They like to swoop in, take a sample or two of the sweet nectar, and then fly off to a nearby perch to finish up, preen, and do it again.

Offer Orioles Clear Nectar

We use the same sugar nectar recipe for both Orioles and hummingbirds:

  1. Add one cup granulated sugar to four cups of boiling water.
  2. Stir and let cool.
  3. Refrigerate unused portion.
  4. Never use food coloring.
  5. Some experts recommend thinning the ratio up to eight parts water to 1 part sugar.

Keep Your Oriole Feeder Clean

Female orioles blend in.
Female orioles blend in. | Source

Oriole Nectar Alternative: Jelly

A favorite alternative to nectar is to offer a small amount of grape jelly. A couple of tablespoons in an open dish or container it like ringing the dinner bell. You may see some aggressive behavior by the Orioles as they vie for feeding rights. You can make for an easier clean up by mixing a ¼ cup of water into the jelly.

Keep It Clean and Bug-Free

If you see black gunk forming around your feeder, take it in, wash it, and rinse it off. This advice holds double for hummingbird feeders. The sweet nectar will draw in ants and other critters.

An Oriole Nest Is a Great Sign

Both Oriole parents raise their young
Both Oriole parents raise their young | Source

If You See an Oriole Nest, Offer Bugs

If you are lucky enough to see one of the small, grey sack-like nests in your yard, start offering mealworms. In the early summer, the birds crave the sweet from fruit nectar after their long migratory flight north. However, once breeding season starts, they will begin to seek out insects. Mealworms are a great high-protein food that will build them up for their next flight south.

Leave Oriole Nests in Place

The bird won't reuse the nest, but they will recycle the material. Orioles will set their nests out on slender, green twigs to discourage predators like raccoons. We found nests in small bushes from three to six feet off the ground. One suggestion that we have not tried is to offer lengths of twine fiber or horsehair. Sadly, we have seen small spreads of plastic wrap in one nest.

Do You Feed Hummingbirds and Orioles?

See results

A Quiet Environment and Water Draws Orioles

Water—They Love It

Orioles are attracted to shallow, moving water. We have seen them attracted to a shallow puddle after a rainstorm. Select a wide shallow basin and add a bubbler or small pump to create water movement to attract the most birds. Keep the water clean. Bright colors will also draw their attention.

Keep Your Feeders Away From Activity

Orioles are typically shy. They do not like a lot of traffic from humans or animals. Try to locate your feeder in an open area where it can be seen from the air and treetops. Placement in a high branch or on top of a pole is ideal.

Questions & Answers

  • We had our very first Oriole yesterday. He was eating from our suet, so I put some orange out for him, and he did take a few bites of the half of the orange. Today I went and got a nectar feeder for Orioles, but I have not seen him today. I'm worried that he has left the yard. Is it common to see them once, but they still hang around the yard?

    Your oriole is likely scouting out the territory. Go ahead and place the feeders out. Try a small colorful bowl of grape jelly out on top of a post or even a picnic table. It's still a bit early, but if you have seen one, then others will follow.

© 2018 Mike Hardy

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Mike Hardy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Hardy 

      2 months ago from Caseville, Michigan

      You may find woodpeckers and hummingbirds in your jelly offering. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 

      2 months ago from Houston, Texas

      It must be so much fun to get to regularly see Orioles in your yard feeding and nesting during the season. They are beautiful birds. I would never have thought to feed them grape jelly. Do other birds like grape jelly as well?

    • Mike Hardy profile imageAUTHOR

      Mike Hardy 

      3 months ago from Caseville, Michigan

      I have our new oriole feeder ready. We will be up next weekend. We celebrate mom's b'day on Sunday. (It was Tuesday)

    • profile image

      Jeanne Henry 

      3 months ago

      Cold weather & persistent flurries in Caseville are slowing spring bird arrivals. Tundra Swans are flying over in noisy flocks. But the Robins we’ve seen so far are wearing fleece.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pethelpful.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pethelpful.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)